Architectural Detail Design and Tender—is now a good time to proceed?


When times are uncertain, it can be tempting to delay projects until it is more settled, however there are advantages to proceeding whilst others have taken a back seat.

In the current situation, many people are working from home, and while there are deadlines that must be adhered too and many Zoom meetings that will need attendance, there is more time to learn what you love and hate about your home. Which means more time to plan, forecast and firm up.

How can you make the most of the current situation when it comes to detail design and tender, though?

Detailed Design

There is no one size fits all guide to how long a detailed drawing is going to take. However, when there is a halt in the industry, it is the perfect time to jump in the timeline that many construction projects and household renovations will have left.

At any one time, there are thousands of construction projects happening, and that means the architects are busy. Not so busy they can’t take on your project, but busy enough that you will need to be on a strict timeline and work together and exact deadlines.

It is likely that if you are planning for the months ahead (and that is ideally what the construction industry is doing right now), that you will be able to work more closely with an architect on your projects.

The remote working model and the speed at which information and even a sketch are available is something that is going to benefit everyone right now.


In the circumstances, contractors are understandably very keen to use the time away that they are forced to have, for tendering and securing projects for the other side of the current lockdown and coming months.

Usually, a negotiated tender will be the best option when deadlines are tight, but in the current COVID-19 climate, the halt on many construction projects means that there is more time for research and planning. This also means that there is more time for us to test selective or open tendering methods too.

Using the open tendering method which will generate a huge influx of interested contractors to apply is perfect for times that many projects are on hold, and you want to do something productive and great for business. Usually, this option might be seen as a waste of time, but there is gold to be found in the sand.

Selective tendering is also a wonderful consideration right now. With most offices closed, and a range of projects being put on hold completely, many contractors are looking to the future and ready to submit bids for work in the coming months.

While issuing and evaluating tenders can proceed as normal, committing to a definite commencing date is less straight forward for both clients and contractors. Having said that, this is not a reason to miss this opportunity as there are suitable contractual mechanisms that can easily resolve this and allow clients and contractors to agree on a tentative date that can move if the circumstances require without further implications to both parties.

Dates and Deadlines

This is where things can get very tricky, very quickly. Due to the COVID-19 situation, there are a lot of regulations that mean no one can be 100% sure on when full construction work can take place. However, there are some guidelines which have been issued and information that can help you make the closest estimate.

The moving deadline on when people will be allowed back into the offices and sites does cast uncertainty on when construction projects will be able to move forward. However, there are many representative bodies who are looking at how the industry will be moving forward from the current situation.

It has been made clear that the UK government should be putting safety ahead of contractual obligations, but that doesn’t mean that all of the detail design and tenders cannot proceed as normal.

While delays are inevitable, the current restrictions will be lifted eventually, and it is better to have everything you need in place ready for the next stages of the work.

Moving Forward

The construction industry has been impacted in a very unique way in the current climate, but there is much that can be done to overcome the challenges that the industry is being faced with.

The situation is changing at a rapid pace, so making smart assumptions based on the details and reports that are being produced will give you a better idea of what you can move forward with and when. We would develop some dynamic strategies to cover a number of outcomes.


There have been many different support types put in place to ensure that the construction industry is kept going during this pandemic. The Civil Engineering Contractors Association and Build UK have been offering support to all those impacted by the situation. As well as professional assistance, there is financial assistance too.

In the long-term, it is predicted that the investment that is currently focused on the health crisis will once again return to the construction industry. And when it does, it pays to have everything ready for when the green-light is given.

So, when it comes to architectural detail design and tender, is now the right time to proceed? The answer is – there may never be a better time than right now to get all of your plans, tenders and conversations in place and be way ahead of the game when it comes to the lifting of the current lockdown measures and the influx of investment in construction happens once again.

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